Moat, But No Castle: A Zen House In Glyndon

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Hot House: 4603 Prospect Avenue, Glyndon, MD. 21071


american land titleMid-century modern, Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired house, circa 1960, totally renovated in 2010, on 10.8 private acres in Glyndon. 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths,  3,700 sq. ft. over one story, with four fireplaces,  chef’s kitchen, bamboo and teak floors throughout, heated gunnite swimming pool, L-shaped moat, separate guest suite, on landscaped wooded lot with original stone bank barn: $869,000



What: A modern architectural treasure. One of only four houses designed by renowned American landscape architect James Rose, built in the Usonian style for a business associate of Frank Lloyd Wright. Usonia was Wright’s vision for the future of American architecture  — a pared-down version of Prairie, spare in ornamentation, but luxurious in the use of stone and natural materials. This house was built from first-growth redwood, in still-perfect condition after 50 years.

Like Wright, James Rose was profoundly influenced by Japanese philosophy and design, traveling many times to Japan, and eventually becoming a Buddhist himself. A classic expression of the Zen aesthetic, 4603 Prospect is long and low — submitting to, rather than dominating, the surrounding hills, trees and gardens. Gorgeous stonework throughout, as well as an interior courtyard, skylights and walls of glass, help fuse indoor space with outdoor.  Lush gardens descend on gentle terraces to a swimming pool with waterfall and stone surround. The stone moat runs in an L on one side of a large bluestone patio, complete with swimming fish. Inside, the house is full of light, rooms are a comfortable size. Master bedroom suite is large, with stone fireplace, floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking woods, and a bath with Japanese  soaking tub. Walls of closets and many built-ins. Nearly every room has woodland vistas. New kitchen flows into breakfast room and down a stone step into the family room. Sunny office.  All beautiful, relaxed,  and low-maintenance – except for annual (outsourced) cleaning of moat. Zoned central heat, radiant heat and central a/c.


Where: Set back, on private graveled drive, from the tiny village of Historic Glyndon, est.1871 as a summer retreat from the city.  Nearby public schools include the good, if not great, Franklin Elementary, Middle and High Schools.  Thomas Rowe Price Jr., who founded T. Rowe Price, is a Franklin High grad, and local lore says Edgar Allen Poe applied to be principal of the original Franklin Academy, but was rejected. From the city, take Greenspring Avenue heading north as it becomes Worthington Avenue and then Butler Road. Just past the sign for Historic Glyndon, take a right onto Waugh Avenue. Waugh becomes Prospect. Grocery shop at Wegman’s in Hunt Valley (12 minutes) or the much closer (2 minutes) Santoni’s Market on Butler Road. It’s about 20 miles from downtown, with good access to 795 and 695.


Would Suit: Zen master. Executive shaman.

Why: Architecturally fascinating. Grace and subtlety in the details.

Why Not: Don’t get the aesthetic.

NB: There is a James Rose Research Center in Ridgewood, New Jersey, where he lived and practiced for 40 years.


Hot House is sponsored by Towson-based American Land Title Corporation, commercial and residential settlement agents.


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